Will the Palm Pre spark a war with Apple?

Both sides armed and ready

Will the Palm Pre spark a war with Apple?
In his recent financial conference call, new CEO of Apple, Tim Cook (who stepped in to replace Steve Jobs during his leave of absence on health grounds) pulled no punches in telling any potential competition that Apple would aggressively protect its intellectual properties.

“We like competition, as long as they don’t rip off our IP, and if they do, we’re going to go after anybody that does. We will not stand for having our IP ripped off and we’ll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal,” said Cook.

Though he mentioned no names, the blogosphere is running wild with speculation that his comments were aimed at Palm, which is gearing up to reinvent itself with the CES hot product, the Palm Pre.

The Pre is very much its own device, and based on an entirely different architecture to the iPhone - although the two devices also have strong similarities, with the Pre's multi-touch capabilities thought to have stirred Apple's ire.

The fact that Palm has hired several former Apple employees, including its head of hardware engineering Joe Rubinstein, may be another factor in the legal posturing.

But despite having a rough few recent years, Palm has been in this business long enough to take threats on the chin without flinching.

"Palm has a long history of innovation that is reflected in our products and robust patent portfolio, and we have long been recognised for our fundamental patents in the mobile space,” Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox told Digital Daily. “If faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves."

While neither company has thrown down any legal gauntlets as yet, there’s a definite tension in the air. It's up to the lawyers to decide how far the posturing will go, but we’ll definitely be ringside should the showdown begin.

Yes. Spanner's his real name. And, yes, he's heard that joke before.